Do you spend a lot of time indoors? Between work and home, it’s a fact that the majority of us spend a good proportion of our day inside. Unfortunately, this means that we often don’t get some much needed fresh air, let alone the opportunity to unwind and disconnect. So there we are sitting, sleeping and working in confined spaces every day without reaping the benefits of nature.
This doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your lifestyle or even your office. In fact, this problem is something that is super easy to address in the comfort of your own home – more specifically, in the bathroom.
After all, it’s the perfect place for relaxing, refreshing… and getting a little bit healthier both physically and mentally (with the added bonus of not even having to try).
All you need is a thriving collection of natural plants and a little bit of creativity.
Why plants in the bathroom?
Research published in 2013 by the University of Exeter Medical School found that people who lived near green spaces reported less mental health distress than those that didn’t. This research was undertaken over an 18 year period, making it one of the most comprehensive studies into the link between man and nature.
Who knew that plants aren’t just a wonderful aesthetic addition?
In 1989, NASA conducted a Clean Air Study to find the best indoor plants for filtering out nasties like VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air. From their research they were able to create a list of air-filtering plants that can be found at any nursery, garden centre or maybe even in your own backyard.
Here are our picks of the 10 best natural plants for your bathroom:
1. Flamingo Lily
The Flamingo Lily is a plant known for its gorgeous heart shaped rosy-hued flowers. Great for the bathroom because it loves a moist environment, NASA identified this plant as filtering a number of toxins and pollutants including formaldehyde, xylene and ammonia. So add a pop of colour to your bathroom and the next time you are resting in the tub remember that this plant is doing some hard work behind the scenes by making the air you breathe extra fresh.
2. Spider Plant
Simple and grass-like, this is a very hardy option that is also considered to be one of the most adaptable houseplants. A very good choice for those who aren’t naturally green thumbs, spider plants come in both green and variegated options making them perfect for modern or natural spaces. NASA identified it as a plant that filters both formaldehyde and xylene (found in rubber, tobacco smoke and exhaust fumes) from the air. You can also propagate your own by simply cutting off one of the ‘spider legs’ and putting it in a new pot of soil.
3. Air Plants
These are nifty plants that can be mounted on walls, cabinets or even on the shower recess. They love natural light, so make sure your bathroom has enough of it, otherwise all they need is minimal care, which includes watering them once a week by submerging them in water and letting them soak for a bit. The moist air in the bathroom will also help them thrive. Available in many different varieties, air plants will create a real rainforest vibe in your bathroom.
Bamboo is beautifully modern and very zen, making it ideal for a tranquil bathroom haven. Fast growing and versatile, bamboo comes in a lot of different shapes, sizes and colours. Use the bamboo as a living bathroom screen or as a dynamic textured wall – there are so many ways you can incorporate it without it taking up too much space. However, it does need quite a bit of water. Luckily you’ll be able to hydrate it whenever you step in to have a shower.
Orchid’s thrive in warm, humid conditions. So why not transform your bathroom into a luxury spa or sauna? Not only are they beautifully elegant, they come in so many different colours and sizes. From big bold purple blooms to small delicate buds, the effortless serenity that this plant offers gives it the perfect balance of femininity and masculinity. Orchids can be a bit temperamental so test a plant on your window sill to see how it goes before investing in too many.
6. English Ivy
As off-putting as this might be, a study found that English ivy reduces airborne fecal-matter by more than 94% in a period of 24 hours. This is great considering the nature of the bathroom. Moreover, NASA also found that it filters trichloroethylene (found in things like inks, and paint strippers), formaldehyde, benzene (used to make plastics), and xylene. This plant is quite aggressive in the garden and has been labelled as an ‘invader’, however safely in a pot in your bathroom it should soon thrive into your own personal English garden.
7. Peace Lily
If your bathroom doesn’t get much sunlight, a Peace Lily is a great option. Hardy and forgiving, all they need is a weekly watering and that’s about it! Known for their graceful blooms, these lily’s come in a variety of shades including white and pink. It is also on NASA’s list of air-filtering plants and is especially notable as it removes all three of the most common VOCs – formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. So don’t think these lilies are all about looking pretty, they are also very useful too.
8. Aloe Vera
This plant is a fantastic one to have on hand in the bathroom. Australia is known for its sunshine, which also means it’s known for its sunburn. Having a fresh aloe plant in your bathroom means you’ll have instant access to an all-natural remedy to soothe and heal everything from bug bites, to burns and cuts. It loves the sun, so hang it near the bathroom window or leave it on the sill.
9. Florist’s Chrysanthemum
A bright bathroom is needed for these brightly nifty blooms. NASA identified this plant as being able to filter all five of the most common VOCs including formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, ammonia and trichloroethylene. If that isn’t impressive enough, they come in every colour imaginable (except for true blue), which means you can go wild transforming your bathroom into a living rainbow. Just remember that this is a particular variety of chrysanthemum that is meant for indoors, whilst many of the others are suited for outdoors.
Moss is very versatile. From mini terrariums on the sink to large living walls, you can almost do anything with it (including making your own bathroom mat). This means moss is the perfect DIY plant. Upside is it’s also very easy to acquire. From the local bush track to the park, you can start propagating samples right away to be used in your own designs. However, if you aren’t feeling particularly inspired don’t worry. Living walls and vertical installations are very on-trend at the moment with many companies offering botanical designs that integrate with any space. It might be very expensive but the results will WOW you and your guests every time.
IMPORTANT: If you are thinking of transforming your bathroom into a botanical getaway, remember that some plants are toxic to pets and children. So take this into consideration when placing the plants around the space.